KINGSTON, R.I. — March 22, 2017 — The third annual student-created and led conference will take place at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus March 24-25, 2017. Called “Diversifying Individuals Via Education” (D.I.V.E. RI), promotes intercultural competence and inclusion with workshops, events and discussions. This year’s theme is “Restoring Hope” and will focus on enhancing student leadership and social change on college campuses. The 2017 keynote speaker is award-winning journalist Jemele Hill from ESPN. Hill joined ESPN in 2006 and has since written columns, hosted many shows, and is now the face of EPSN’s flagship SportsCenter. The conference cost $20 for students and $25 for the general public.
Founding member of DIVE RI, Dayo Akinjisola, a junior political science and supply chain management major from Pawtucket, R.I. serves as the 2017 logistics chair. “Every single presentation and workshop is carefully crafted to inspire. It’s great to see how people take what they learn from DIVE RI and take action in their community to spark change.” When asked where he sees the conference in a few years from now, Akinjisola says: “I want the conference to still be led by students who are persistent, who are fearless, and who continue to challenge the URI community to grow.”
Brianna Vega, a junior nursing major from Providence, R.I., helped plan the first conference her freshman year and is now on the DIVE RI marketing team. “Growing up, my mother told me the one thing people can’t take away from you is your education. That’s why I’m here. To create a safe place for people where they can be educated about important topics.” Vega says. “Many of the issues in our country today are happening because we don’t listen to one another. Everyone wants to prove their point, but rarely do we take the time to try and understand each other. With DIVE RI, we have the time and place to understand and grow via education.” When asked what the most rewarding part of the conference is, Vega says “Every single person who attends leaves with a new perspective. It’s amazing to get to witness that.”
Naomi Thompson, associate vice president of Community Equity & Diversity said: “We are very proud of our students for bending and blending conversations on diversity with this event. It has been a wonderful experience for all — students helping students to broaden the understanding and discussions on diversity. This is a birthplace for leadership in diversity and our students are role models for their peers. With all the heated debate going on today, this year’s DIVE RI Conference will be more relevant and beneficial than ever.”
Founded in 2015, this conference allows the URI community to explore topics on race and ethnicity in higher education. Last year more than 300 students from URI, Rhode Island College, Johnson & Wales University, UCONN and more experienced the lively event. It was such a success that many students from other institutions were inspired to create their own version of the conference for their campus.
This conference is sponsored by URI’s Campus Store, Memorial Union, College of Human Sciences and Services, College of Business Administration, Africana Studies Program, Honors Program, Women’s Center, Student Senate, Athletics Department, Office of the President, Greek Life, and Housing and Residential Life. Other sponsors include the Nigerian Community of Rhode Islan